Smoking Cocktails - Smoke Gun Uses | The Nibble Webzine Of Food Adventures - The Nibble Webzine Of Food Adventures Smoking Cocktails - Smoke Gun Uses | The Nibble Webzine Of Food Adventures
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TIP OF THE DAY: Smoking Cocktails & More Uses For A Smoke Gun

A couple of years ago, we began to notice smoking cocktails on the menus of some fine restaurants we patronize.

These are not the dry-ice-generated smoke of Halloween, but flavored smoke made with wood chips or other agent that provide heavenly aroma.

You don’t want the bouquet to dissipate. It’s like the alluring scent of a burning log added to a great drink.

When the smoking cocktail is brought to the table (photo #1) and the waiter removes the dome that’s keeping the smoke inside (photo #2), the whole table gets to enjoy the aroma.

The smoke not only excites the nose, but it adds a delightful depth of flavor.

We couldn’t head to the restaurants every time we wanted a smoked cocktail, so we asked the mixologists at Wall Street Grill, a sophisticated restaurant in Manhattan’s Wall Street area, to help us.

Their recipe for a Smoking Rosemary Fizz is below. The restaurant happens to be kosher, but its fine food can be enjoyed by everyone.

You can make it at home by investing in a smoke gun (photo #3 and #4, for as little as $20) and a glass dome, which has other uses for baked goods, cheese, etc. Just head to Amazon.

While a smoke gun is a great addition to the kitchen, first note that a smoke gun doesn’t smoke food in the manner of a backyard smoker, over many hours of cooking.

Rather, it gives a 30-second infusion of smoke flavor to cooked food or a drink, or to ingredients you’ll use to make a recipe.

Like a kitchen torch (and of a similar size), a smoke gun is a small tool that delivers big flavor. You add wood chips or other flavor agent (there’s a list below), and the gun converts the chips, cinnamon, herbs, etc. to smoke.

The gun blows the smoke into your food or drink, infusing it with smoke flavor.

Far from being exotic, it is easy to use with your everyday foods. You can:

  • Smoke cocktails or straight spirits. How about a smoky Bloody Mary or Margarita?
  • Smoke and freeze water into ice cubes for extra smoke.
  • Smoke coarse sea salt and dried spices.
  • Smoke butter and condiments: mayonnaise, oil, pesto, vinaigrettes.
  • Smoke ingredients to make smoked ice cream, pasta and more.
    And of course, you can add smoke to cooked meats and fish. See the video on this page, showing all the different things you can smoke.

    Here are more videos specific to cocktails.

  • Dome: Smoking with a dome.
  • Decanter: You can use a decanter instead of a dome, but it doesn’t allow for a rising-smoke presentation (see this video).
  • Hose: Instead of a dome, you can use the hose of the smoke gun to blow smoke directly into the cocktail. This is also how you infuse smoke onto cooked food.
    A smoking gun can cost as little as $20, like this ChefHut model, which gets five stars on Amazon. There are units for $80 and more.

  • Cinnamon sticks: Provides a lighter smoke flavor with subtle sweetness.
  • Citrus peels: Use as a garnish to deliver some smoky flavor.
  • Herbs and spices: Experiment with your favorites, including tea leaves and saffron.
  • Oak chips: These accentuate the charred wood notes from barrel aging.
  • Pecan chips: These provide a nutty flavor.
  • Other wood chips: Experiment with whatever you like: apple, hickory, maple, mesquite, orange, etc.
  • Rosemary sprigs: herbaceous flavor
  • Vanilla beans: light, sweet smoke


    Smoking Cocktail
    [1] Smoke infusing the cocktail under the dome (photo © Wall Street Grill).

    Smoking Cocktail
    [2] The big reveal at the table (photo © Wall Street Grill).

    Infusing Food With Smoke
    [3] Infusing chicken breasts with smoke, using a $20 Chefhut infuser (photo © Chefhut).

    Infusing Ribs With Smoke
    [4] Spraying smoke atop ribs with the hose of the Breville smoke gun (photo © Breville).

    Smoked Cocktail
    [5] A smoked Manhattan cocktail at Ocean Prime (photo © Ocean Prime).

    You may also need a glass dome, a smoke gun, a smoking agent (e.g. wood chips), and ideally, a jumbo ice cube (it works better than regular cubes).

    Ingredients Per Cocktail

  • 2 ounces Makers Mark bourbon (or substitute)
  • 2 ounces Grapefruits Juice
  • 1 ounce made rosemary simple syrup
  • 2 dashes orange bitters
  • Ice
  • Garnish: rosemary sprig
    For The Rosemary Simple Syrup

    You can also use this syrup in iced tea, hot tea or lemonade, on fruit salad, as pound cake glaze and sorbet topping, and of course, to flavor sophisticated snow-cones.

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 fresh rosemary sprigs
    Simple Syrup Preparation

    1. MAKE the simple syrup. Combine the water and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high, whisking occasionally until the sugar dissolves. Then simmer for a few more minutes until liquid is completely clear. Remove the saucepan from the heat.

    2. ADD the rosemary and let it infuse in the simple syrup for 30 to 60 minutes, until the mixture is thick and syrupy.

    3. REMOVE the rosemary from the pan and pour the syrup into a glass jar. Refrigerate, tightly capped. It will keep for at two weeks (twice as long for unflavored simple syrup).
    Cocktail Preparation

    1. SHAKE all the ingredients with ice and strain into a rocks glass with a jumbo ice cube. Garnish with rosemary.

    2. SMOKE with hickory wood with a smoke gun under a glass dome.

    3. BRING to the table still covered. Remove the dome in front of the guest (or yourself) so everyone can enjoy the aroma.


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